T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Rosa rubiginosa (Sweet Briar)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rosa
Species: R. rubiginosa
Binomial name: Rosa rubiginosa
Common names: Briar rose, Sweet Briar, Eglantine Rose, Eglantine, Rosa eglanteria 

Rosa rubiginosa is a species of rose native to Europe and western Asia and South America. Sweet briar was originally grown as an ornamental rose, but is now a major scrub weed in the South Island, especially in Central Otago and inland Canterbury. It is also found in the North Island, though generally only as a road-side weed.
The New Zealand Department of Conservation classifies R. rubiginosa as an "environmental weed"

It is a deciduous, erect, occasionally dense, woody shrub to 3 m (occasionally 5 m) tall with stout branched roots that often sucker. Many arching stems grow from the base, with few to many, unequal, flattened, downward- pointing, curved thorns.
It has apple-smelling leaves are hairless dull-green above, hairy below, and divided into 5-9 narrow-oval leaflets (12-40 x 8-28 mm).
The flowers are in clusters of 1-3 pink (or bright pink with whitish base) rose-like, 5-petalled (25-40 mm diameter) which appear from November to March, followed by prominent, egg-shaped, shiny red or orange-red rose hips (12-22 x 10-18 mm) from February to May.

It has a long-lived seed which is well dispersed by birds. The plant also spreads by suckers. It is found in abandoned gardens, poor and drought-prone pasture, roadsides, and river flats. It is a problem because it forms dense, long-lived stands in tough, open habitats, inhibiting or preventing the seedlings of native species from establishing. It can alter riverbeds, causing flooding. Because it requires moderate to high light levels it invades only open sites or badly degraded forest.

Rose hip seed oil extracted by pressing the seeds of a rose bush (Rosa moschata or Rosa rubiginosa). It is unique among vegetable oils in containing retinol (Vitamin A), and is also high in vitamin C. Rose hip seed oil is high in the essential fatty acids - linoleic acid or omega-6, and linolenic acid or omega-3. It is commonly used in skin care products. It is used for a variety of skin conditions, including dermatitis, acne and eczema, for mature and sun burnt skin as well as brittle nails and wrinkles. Rose hip oil is also frequently used to heal scarring and diminish photo-aging.
During the Second World rosehips were gathered, especially in Central Otago, from the Sweet briar growing by the road and on the hillsides. These were sold to factories that were manufacturing rosehip syrup, a valuable source of vitamin C. Imported fruits like bananas and oranges were in short supply. Mothers of babies were given coupons for oranges, but they were not always available and rosehip syrup was fed to the babies as a substitute for orange juice.







Rosa rubiginosa rosehips rich in vitamin C